NASA scientists crack 60 year old mystery of explosions on Sun: Researchers at NASA have created a model which explains why explosions happen on the Sun and also helps forecast solar flares that may strike Earth.
An explosive process known as magnetic reconnection can trigger solar flares that can take just a few minutes to generate sufficient energy that can power the entire globe for over 20,000 years. Scientists have spent the past half-century trying to figure out the mechanisms behind this process.
The team from NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS) is developing a new theory that will explain how the most explosive kind of magnetic reconnection – known as fast reconnection occurs and how it happens with a constant speed.
Magnetic reconnection occurs as a process that takes place in plasma, an energetic fluid-like substance that is extremely responsive to magnetic fields.
From flares from the Sun and even close to Earth space to black holes, all plasmas in the universe are affected by magnetic reconnection that quickly transforms magnetism into energy and accelerates. There are many kinds of magnetic reconnections, one perplexing type is called fast reconnection. This happens with regularity. NASA
“We have long known that fast reconnection occurs at a specific rate, which seems to be quite continuous,” said Barbara Giles who is the project scientist at MMS and a researcher in NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “But what is driving the rate of reconnection has been an unanswered question, until recently.”
NASA scientists crack 60 year old mystery
NASA scientists crack 60 year old mystery: The research was published in the Nature’s Communications Physics journal, which explained the speed at which reconnection happens in collisionless plasmas, plasmas in which the particles are dispersed enough that the particles do not collide.
Space is where reconnection takes place the majority of plasma is in this state of non-collision and includes plasma from solar flares, as well as in those in the area around Earth.
The team presented the theory with a typical magnetic phenomenon known as the Hall effect – a well-known magnetic phenomenon utilized in everyday technologies, such as speed sensors for vehicles and 3D printers. sensors are used to measure speed, distance to the location, and electrical power.
When fast magnetic reconnection occurs, charged particles in plasma – in particular electrons and ions cease to move as a unit. Since electrons and ions start to move separately and causing the Hall effect, which creates an unsteady energy space, where the reconnection occurs.
The magnetic field pressure in the energy vacuum causes the vacuum to explode, which quickly releases huge quantities of energy, at a predictable speed.
“Ultimately If we are able to comprehend how magnetic reconnection works and how it works, we will be able to better predict the events that will have an impact on our lives on Earth including solar flares and geomagnetic storms, Giles stated. “
And when we know the mechanism behind reconnection and how it is initiated, it can also aid energy research since researchers can better manage magnetic fields in Fusion devices.” –IANS Reference